Bad days are a part of life. We all have them. No matter how many yoga classes you attend or how smoothly your life runs, you’ll run up against one sooner or later. The secret to thriving is learning how to move forward in spite of bad days, not aiming to never have one (although minimizing their frequency is a good thing).

Here are some tips for dusting yourself off and getting back on track after a bad day happens.

Do you have permission to have a bad day? Make sure that your inner-perfectionist (the one who requires all-or-nothing success) isn’t running your show. Are you knee-deep in self blame or guilt for things that may have contributed to your bad day (or for the way you reacted to it)? As long as you are busy beating yourself up, you won’t be able to move on. Why not try on the idea that an occasional bad day is simply to be expected? It doesn’t mean you failed, it means it’s time to implement the “bad day plan.”

Are you ready to move on and what will you need to let go of to do so? This is an important question. Are you ready to move on from your bad day or do you need it to continue for a little while longer? If you are busy beating yourself up or feeling miserable or drowning your sorrows, or feeling indignant and victimized, you’re not ready to stop having a bad day yet. What do you need to let go of in order to start to shift into a different space? Anger, hurt, frustration, or negativity are all common answers.

What do you want to move on TO? How do you want things to be? How do you want to feel? What do you want your mindset or mental attitude to be? Your posture? Your facial expressions? Take a look in the mirror and make sure you aren’t still carrying your bad day with you—it’s amazing how often we do this.

What helps you feel grounded? An important step in moving on from a bad day is connecting with the present and letting go of the past. What helps you to be really present in THIS moment—completely here and alive? For some people deep breathing or physical activity helps. Some people like to journal or spend quiet time alone. Take some time to get centered and to set your intention for how you want to BE in the present moment and into the future.

What kind thing can you do for yourself? This is what we do for others who are having a bad day. What can you do for yourself (and no, a pint of ice cream doesn’t count)? Can you call a friend or rent a movie? Pick a flower from your yard? Schedule a massage or a long bath or buy some new nail polish? Bad day recovery days are prime times for self care.

What’s one thing you can commit to that is a positive action? It doesn’t need to be big. Pick one small step or action that signifies that you are moving in a positive direction. Do a good deed or a short workout or clean out one drawer. You’ll know the action that fits. You’re goal is to take the first step towards getting on a more positive track and when that’s done, take the next one.

Author's Bio: 

Melissa McCreery, PhD, ACC, is a Psychologist, ICF Certified Life Coach, emotional eating expert, and the founder of, a company dedicated to providing smart resources to busy women struggling with food, weight and overwhelm. Find out more and pick up her free audio series: “5 simple steps to move beyond overwhelm with food and life” at

Copyright 2009 - Melissa McCreery, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and provide full author credit.